Wednesday, July 7, 2010

More About Smoking

I wrote about smoking laws a few days back and got a lot of comments, mostly angry ones. I answered many of these comments with my own comments but people typically don't read those and I keep getting the same accusations and derisions, so I thought I'd post my updated thoughts about smoking laws here.

1. Yes, I agree that second-hand smoke can be a health hazard. My argument is that occasionally passing a person on the street who is smoking will not give you cancer. (Note to asthma sufferers: I'm not talking about asthma here.)

2. I do NOT believe that ALL restaurants and bars should allow smoking. I hated those days, too. I'm saying that ALL restaurants and bars should not be REQUIRED to ban it. Most people do not like smoke and would choose smoke-free establishments so there would be plenty of them to choose from. Simple supply and demand. A small percentage would allow smoking, thus giving waitpersons and bartenders plenty of options for working in a smoke-free environment or one that allows smoking. (Note to anyone feeling indignation at this moment: I am NOT saying that you or your loved ones will have to work in a smoke-filled room. This is purely conjecture on my part. Just my opinion; life isn't perfect, neither am I.)

3. I do NOT deny that smoking is a health hazard. My point is only that it is a long-term hazard for some people, not a death sentence for anyone who smells it wafting by on a windy day.

4. Yes, smoke smells bad to non-smokers. That's reason enough to ban it in public buildings. You're right. I agree. We smokers are despicable.

I hope this decree is taken in the spirit of reconciliation in which it is intended. Yes, I smoke cigars, but I won't do it in your home, church or place of business unless you invite me to.

Thanks for reading and please don't hate me. Now check out the next post, which features a cartoon.

19 comments:

Jean said...

Okay, problem...there was no mandate that restaurants or bars be smoking-friendly to begin with. If your "supply and demand" idea would work, we would have seen a large number of restaurants and bars go smoke-free before the ban. But they didn't, because they had smoke smoking patrons who would have got their panties all twisted if they god forbid had to hold off on a cigarette for an hour while they ate and/or had to step outside to light up.

And you might not realize this, but jobs are hard to get in this economy. Yes, even shitty serving jobs. You can bet that were the laws the way you'd like them, a lot of people who would not like to work in a smoking environment would end up having to work at one out of necessity. Just like I did.

Anonymous said...

Bravo! I agree.

tecwzrd said...

I completely agree with you and I'm a non-smoker. Most of it is hogwash.

Checkout http://www.smokingaloud.com for some really shocking info on the anti smoking campaign.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Dan.
I agree.


Goochie-Goo

MarkS said...

Quite a libertarian point of view here. I didn't think you were of that persuasion.

monsterzero said...

wow! guns that shoot cigarettes! and only $1.79! (plus a few pennies for postage!) MAN OH MAN! THOSE WERE THE DAYS! now i can't smoke, can't get a gun. makes a fella wanta jump offa roof. probably a law against that too!

King Rat said...

Simple supply and demand. A small percentage would allow smoking, thus giving waitpersons and bartenders plenty of options for working in a smoke-free environment or one that allows smoking.

That is belied by history. Prior to the smoking ban in Washington State, 99.9% of all restaurants and 100% of bars were smoking establishments. There were not plenty of options for waitpersons and bartenders to work in a smoke-free environment.

Lois2037 said...

Okay, I don't hate you. I still think that restaurants and bars should all ban smoking, but you have a very valid point. I have asthma, and even I don't want laws that would prohibit people from smoking outdoors. Not only is it basically unenforceable, it's way, way too restrictive. Indoors, you're shut in with it, and can't easily get away, but outdoors... I just don't see the problem. I can move away from smokers, or ask them to move away from me, and so far, that's worked very well.

Allan Koay said...

actually, i've been told that smoke smells bad to smokers too, that is, smoke from other smokers.

Prospero said...

As a cigarette (and occasional pipe or cigar) smoker, I understand and completely agree with both what you've said here and previously. No one should have to be subjected to anything they find unpleasant and/or distasteful. But my right to use tobacco should not be infringed upon, either. Here in PA, we do have clubs and bars that still allow smoking. No one is forced to work in them against their will. They do not allow persons under 18 entry and do not serve alcohol to persons under 21. One very popular nearby establishment even offers a smoke-free area on a separate floor. All three floors are always packed.

And of course, there are plenty of cigar store smoking lounges in which to socialize with other smokers.

And please don't lecture me about my smoking. I am an adult who knows and understands he risks associated with the habit. Yes, I regret ever having taken it up. Isn't that enough?

Anonymous said...

If health is truly the goal, then why is it that there are not simply clean air requirements in various establishments ? Then businesses could choose to ban smoking or pay to implement the technology.

Electronic Sally said...

Don't worry we don't hate you. We are just trying to get a point across. Basically, second hand smoke may not cause you cancer but you have no idea how much damage it does to the environment. So bottom line is that it does more damage then good!

Piraro said...

@Jean and King Rat...
Before smoking bans were popular, 99% of restaurants and bars allowed smoking. Society has changed a lot since then, now that NOT smoking indoors is the rule, not the exception. I suspect almost no restaurants would choose to go back. Probably more bars would but I'd bet there would still be plenty of non-smoking bars.

Russell Pirkle said...

I suspect that it is a valid point that if we repealed the smoking bans not all restaurants and bars would go back to allowing smoking.
I also agree that smoking outdoors isn't a big deal.

Jason Fisher said...

Dan, I see your points and definitely do not hate you. :)

My chief complaint is that smoking is basically the only drug that users force other people to take. If I want to drink alcohol or caffeine, you don't have to; or if you use smokeless tobacco, I don't have to; pills, powders, and injections — ditto. But when you smoke, others around you are quite literally forced to take the drug. Nowadays, non-smokers have to walk through a veritable cloud of smoke to approach a building. I should be able to choose which drugs I want to take, shouldn't I?

I will concede that smokers have some rights to consume this drug (since it's legal), but I do not concede that they have any right to cause others to consume it. It particularly bothers me when smokers cause their children to take the drug too, day after day, year after year. (Note, I'm not saying all smokers do this.)

One final peave: why do so many smokers think it's okay to litter the world with the detritus of their habit? Those of you who do this: how about being civilized and disposing of your trash properly?

Tobacco Barn said...

Anytime you are in Orange County, CA you are welcome to come smoke a cigar in our lounge any time!
Thanks for taking on this touchy subject...

MikeTeeVee said...

Outdoors, it depends which way the wind blows. Some smokers are very good about being downwind from everybody else. Others are completely oblivious about where their smoke is going.

It also helps not to smoke in a crowd. We were at the county fair last weekend. It was pretty much impossible to be upwind from all the smokers.

Strangely, I didn't see many of them actually smoking. They were mostly just carrying around lit cigarettes, with the smoke rarely getting near their own face.

Vicki said...

Hey, Dan -- I just did a quick Google search of secondhand smoke and found this from the American Cancer Society website: "Secondhand smoke immediately affects the heart and blood circulation in a harmful way"; "The scientific evidence shows that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke"; and "The only way to fully protect non-smokers from exposure to secondhand smoke indoors is to prevent all smoking in that indoor space or building. Separating smokers from non-smokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings cannot keep non-smokers from being exposed to secondhand smoke." After meeting Patty Young, the flight attendant who contracted lung cancer from secondhand smoke and successfully lobbied Congress to ban smoking on planes (and whose passion now is to educate pet owners about the dangers of secondhand smoke to pets), I'm convinced no level of secondhand smoke is safe for anyone. I even stopped burning incense in my home, not wishing to subject my cats to it.

e cigarette said...

I have no idea why you've got angry comments, this article seems like friendly written, and i like the way you sharing your ideas about this problem.